By: Lindsey Bennett, Paul Chrzanowski, and Zach Seprish Phaethon was the son of the god of the sun, Helios, and his wife Clymene Translated, Phaethon means “Shining” Phaethon’s father, Helios, was the god of the sun. But, Phaethon did not know of his father’s role until he reached a certain age. When Phaethon learned who and what his father was, he decided to go to meet Helios. Phaethon was awed by his father’s power and both were thrilled to meet each other. In Phaethon’s excitement, he decided to ask his father for a favor. Helios immediately agreed before he even knew what his son wanted. Phaethon asked his father to let him drive the chariot that Helios used to pull the sun across the sky. Helios was reluctant to grant his son’s favor, but having already agreed, he had to comply. Helios handed his son the reigns and Phaethon happily jumped into the chariot. Once inside the chariot and ready to drive, Phaethon quickly lost control of the immortal steeds that pulled it. The chariot veered out of control dragging Phaethon along the sky helplessly, leaving a trail of destruction behind it. The crazy ride continued, and as Phaethon and the chariot got too close to the earth, the very ground burned. The region where the chariot burned the ground is today known as the Sahara Desert in Africa. The god Zeus quickly realized the danger of this situation. He then hurled a thunderbolt at Phaethon, killing him instantly. Phaethon’s body landed near the Eridanos River where his sisters mourned his death and eventually formed into poplar trees on it’s bank. Atsma, Aaron J. “Phaethon.” Theoi. 2008. 28 Feb. 2009 <http://www.theoi.com/Titan/Phaethon.html>. “Phaethon in Myth.” Loggia. 2007. 25 Feb. 2009 <http://www.loggia.com/myth/phaethon.html>. “Phaeton.” In 2 Greece. 26 Feb. 2009 <http://www.in2greece.com/english/historymyth/mythology/names/phaeto n.htm>.